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Saturday 9 April 2011: Bards and blackthorn

Tuned in to RTE radio this morning to listen to the programme featuring himself!! It was about the wonders of wwoofing(world wide opportunities on organic farms) and a Dublin crew had come down to a farm on Tuesday to interview a host, and himself. Himself first said he was not listening but eventually relented and was relieved to hear that he had not spoken a load of b.....x as he feared. Some of the interview was recorded outside as the crew wanted 'atmos' - this was provided by the loud and insistent cackling of hens, and, rather disturbingly, banjo playing!! I've never been able to listen to banjo playing in the same light since watching Deliverance -a deeply disturbing film. My brother recently reminded me that we took my mother to see The Devils (Ken Russell, Vanessa Redgrave, candlesticks) followed by Deliverance - I can't believe we did that! Back to the banjo - a strange choice of music but maybe not, as on our trip to Kilkenny, we were in the middle of nowhere looking at some ancient crosses when what did we hear but banjo playing - and there was an old guy sitting on his porch strumming! We legged it!

A gentle bit of bog trotting today. We went to look at the old bardic school remains. This part of the mountain was severely burned in the recent fires. It looks terrible and still smells of charcoal. The only good thing is the ruins have been clearly exposed and are accessible without getting torn to shreds. This little building is one of three, over looking the sea on an exposed bit of mountainside. Rather nicely, it had a blackthorn in full bloom growing in the centre. The bardic school was where you came to learn to be bard!! Apparently you were left in a small room in the dark until you came up with something. I think that might have worked.

The sheep have also arrived! Every year Kevin the farmer brings his ewes and their lambs to the field next to us. The flock are walked form his farm a mile and a half away. Jenny leads them, and Kevin takes up the rear in his landrover, beeping his horn. I heard the horn and rushed out ready to take a few blips. About 80 sheep arrived trotting down the road, all getting more and more excited as they remembered where they were coming to, a little trail of vehicles behind them including the school bus. Sheep have excellent memories- fact. I had to stand in the road and go 'whoop' - I knew having watched One Man and his Dog would come in useful at some point.

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